YDP Sees a Cover Band

5 Dec

Bono came to New Haven?

Last night, I was fortunate enough to get a comp ticket to see a U2 coverband, “The Unforgettable Fire.” In an extremely last minute move, I accepted the chance to go check out the show. A highly touted group that’s been covering U2 for 15 years now, I watched the performance at New Haven’s historic venue, Toad’s Place. The crowd was all 30-somethings (save for a pocket or two of people in their twenties getting ridiculous), but to me the final headcount was surprisingly light.

Now to me, bands that make their living playing songs made famous by others need to be rated on two major factors. The first, how closely they emulate the music, is probably the most important, but has two things that can greatly influence it: the variance inherent in live performances, as well as the alcohol-enhanced atmosphere at most shows. I give UF high marks for their performance. The guitarist had down all of the Edge’s licks, and their tech had perfectly set up the pedals to exactly replicate the effects necessary in so many of U2’s canonical offerings (Where the Streets Have no Name, Elevation, Pride, etc.). The band’s “Bono” look-alike had a voice matching the passion of the real planet-loving musician, though he fell a little short in the upper vocal ranges. Rhythm and drumming performances, to my untrained ear, were also more than sufficient.

The second, and sometimes overlooked factor, is how much cover bands emulate the look, style and stage presence of the band they’re paying homage to. Here, I was definitely stunned, especially with “Bono,” who is by necessity the centerpiece. He was giving an all-out effort, stubble, sunglasses, hair. He passionately gesticulated when in song, and spoke to the crowd in a (pretty good) lilting-irish tone between songs. His execution of the call-and-response portion of “Pride (In the Name of Love) was absolutely electric. “Bono” was also probably taller and subsequently heavier built than the real deal, but things I could overlook. The “Edge” had the requisite beanie, but could’ve used a goatee to really round things out. Again, faux Adam (Bassist) and Larry (Drummer) were both pretty good ringers.

I truly judge my experience that night by two things: first, one of my bosses bought me a ton of beers. Two, I had a great time rocking out to very good reproductions of a great band’s music in a live setting. This is why cover bands will always thrive in America. Can’t wait to see someone paying tribute to Miley Cyrus in 15 years.

Sunday Bloody Sunday...that's my jam

Enjoy the music.

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